BDPD Mental Health Officer Discusses New Role

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Police Department’s new mental health officer is already making an impact in the community. The position was created to better focus on the mental health of the people the agency serves. Officer Karalyn Dehn was tapped to fill the role. She has a background in psychology and used to be a psychologist for several school districts in the area for the past 12 years.

Dehn says her goal is to provide more comprehensive help to people struggling with mental health as well as follow up care. She says she will also coordinate care and services with the Dodge County Human Services Crises Center.

Dehn says her responsibilities fall primarily within the public-sphere but she will also select trainings for the entire department to take part in, to help expand their mental health coverage.

During a recent Community Comment, Dehn gave an example of the types of calls for service she responds to. A worker with the Dodge County Human Services Crises Center contacted Dehn to report a person at the Beaver Dam hospital’s emergency room was struggling with a mental health crises. Dehn says she visited the hospital to talk with the individual to see what they needed and conducted a risk assessment. She says she was able to rely important information back to the Crises Center and develop a safety plan that was appropriate for that person.

Dehn says establishing a mental health officer position follows statewide and national trends. She says Fond du Lac County is trying to bring in a social worker to assist the sheriff’s office with mental health needs of their citizens.

Dehn says there are no (quote) “black or white” set of rules for her position. She says those may be developed more as her duties expand.